wave tucks

wave tucks

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Fabric Pattern Design Dilemma Story

I recently began to work with a new long distance client.  We connected after she had already selected and purchased her fabric, so I did not know what the fabric looked like when we chatted on the phone so that I could obtain her project measurements.

It seemed to be a standard project of two pair of drapery panels with a 130" length and rod face of about 80", which would require two widths of fabric for each panel.  I confirmed her required yardage and quoted her pricing and time frame and all was well.

After I received and reviewed the fabric, I knew that this project would require some special treatment in order to provide a well-planned and beautiful finished project.

First of all, the fabric is white, with a chocolate brown graphic design.  It is a lovely pattern in a very current design that looks great.

However, since the white fabric had a dark colored design, the standard double turned hem (fabric folded in on itself twice) would allow the dark pattern to shown through the face fabric, providing an unsightly shadow and coloration.

The colorway selected

A larger view of the pattern
in a different colorway
Below you can how the bleedthrough would have looked using standard hemming methods. The pattern shadows show through to the right and left of the words "Pattern Bleedthrough". Unsightly!

To prevent this from occurring, I sewed a 5" band of white lining to the bottom of the drapery fabric.  Therefore, the face fabric was turned up once, with the lining folded inside of that, instead of the face fabric showing through.  This prevented any pattern bleedthrough, and allowed the white fabric background to remain true and clear without shadowing.  From the back of the drapery panel, the hem looks exactly as it would with the traditional method.

Lining piece pinned in place

Lining is sewn and pressed at the seam line before folding again
The white lining is folded inside
Voila! A clean hem without shadowing
The second consideration was determining pleat sizes and placement.  With a strong, graphic pattern design such as this, it is important to carefully plan the placement of the pleats, so that the center of each pleat showcases the same fabric pattern.  This allows for a continuous flow of the design, allowing the eye to gracefully move across the draperies without disruption.  If the pattern had not been considered, the pattern would have ebbed and flowed and jumped across the panel in a fractured manner.

A photo of what this fabric pattern looks like when not pleated considering the design
I seamed the two fabric widths together and began to consider the pleat sizes and placement.  After marking the positions for the overlap, pleats and spaces using traditional planning methods, I realized that the fabric pattern actually fell in such a way that the pleats would be perfectly placed on the same pattern for each pleat - great!  However, the seam between the two panels would be smack dab in the center of a pleat, which is an industry no-no.  You never want to have the seam at the forefront of a pleat because it is to obtrusive and visible.

The only way to avoid the seam-in-the-middle-of-the-pleat fiasco would be to move the pleats and spaces over 3 inches.  However, this would mean that the side hem (industry standard is 1.5" double folded) would not show the fabric pattern, but instead would show the fabric company markings and words.  Not good!

Shown: the registration markings that would have shown - not good!
 The solution was to cut 6" from the return side of the outer panel and sew 3" of it (the fabric pattern minus the selvedge) to the leading edge.  There would be a seam on the folded edge of the panel, but the pattern would be matched and no extraneous fabric company printing (such as "UP", "Kravet Fabrics" or registration marks would be seen.  Success!

The side hem after seaming the 3" fabric piece to the leading edge, ready to blind hem into place

I then made a mini sample of the drapery panel for my client that showcased two different pleat choices.  The left three pleats are Euro pleats and the right three pleats are two-finger butterfly pleats.  Both pleat styles are placed on the same pattern repeat.  The only difference is the pleat heading.  My client selected the butterfly pleat and we were ready to pleat and ship!

Below is the sample which showcases how the pattern falls on each pleat.  The symmetry looks great!

The photo below shows one of the completed panels fan-folded and ready to ship.  I love the finished product and the extra planning and consideration was well worth it.

I love the symmetry and pattern placement!
I look forward to shipping these panels out to their new home and also to seeing a photo of the completed and installed project!

Hope to see you soon!

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